The government has been accused of hypocrisy after it announced plans to actively promote the UK as a destination for migrants to help tackle skills shortages.
A Home Office paper on managing global migration said marketing the country as an attractive location for migrants “who can contribute to our economy” would be necessary in the future.
A new points-based system for migrants wishing to work and study in the UK, to be introduced next year, will be promoted worldwide, the paper said.
But campaigners have labelled the plans as hypocritical because changes to the existing Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) mean an estimated 40,000 people could be forced to leave the country.
Amit Kapadia, director of campaign group the HSMP Forum, said: “Any new scheme should come with a caution so that people can be forewarned about possible retrospective changes in the future.”